Ir­ish mo­torists happy in the slow

Irish Examiner - Supplement - - NEW CARS -

Elec­tric is the fu­ture, but why are Ir­ish mo­torists so slow to grasp it?

A re­cent sur­vey by the AA found just 1 in 10 mo­torists were “very likely” to choose an EV when buy­ing their next car. One in five (20%) said they were “some­what likely” to turn their backs on diesel or petrol.

But while the sur­vey high­lights a pos­si­ble shift in at­ti­tudes, the re­al­ity is less promis­ing. Just 370 elec­tric cars have been sold this year — that’s out of a to­tal of just un­der 90,000. Hy­brids have fared a lit­tle bet­ter, with just un­der 3,000 sold.

In­ter­est in the sub­ject has been so dis­ap­point­ing, the Gov­ern­ment has been forced to dras­ti­cally re­duce its planned tar­get for the num­ber of elec­tric cars on the roads by 90%.

The first tar­get of 230,000 set in 2008 was scaled back in 2014 to 50,000.

That fig­ure has again been ad­justed down­ward to 20,000 — which again seems a lit­tle am­bi­tious.

AA sur­vey of mo­torists

The AA sur­vey shows the main con­cerns — the bat­tery range of EVs, the lack of charge points and ini­tial costs — still ex­ist de­spite re­cent ad­vances.

It found:

■ 54% said the lack of charge points was the main bar­rier

■ * for 45%, the range of the bat­tery was the main is­sue

■ * while for 41%, elec­tric cars were deemed too ex­pen­sive

The AA’s Com­mer­cial Di­rec­tor for Ire­land, John Far­rell, said there have been sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments in the elec­tric and hy­brid ve­hi­cles, es­pe­cially in terms of re­duced charg­ing times, im­proved range, and their be­ing more af­ford­able to the av­er­age mo­torist.

How­ever, he said if we are to build con­fi­dence among mo­torists, the Gov­ern­ment has to act.

“Elec­tric cars aren’t some pass­ing fad and they will very much be a key part of the fu­ture of mo­tor­ing in Ire­land. It’s time for our gov­ern­ment to ac­cept this fact and fa­cil­i­tate the in­stal­la­tion of a greater num­ber of elec­tric ve­hi­cle charg­ing points across the coun­try if we are to avoid be­ing left be­hind while the rest of the world em­braces the fu­ture,” Mr Far­rell sug­gested.

A sur­vey con­ducted in 2016 by Bloomberg New En­ergy Fi­nance pre­dicted the to­tal cost of EV own­er­ship — the pur­chase price added to the run­ning costs — would dip be­low those of con­ven­tional diesel and petrol cars by 2022.

Nor­we­gian model

One coun­try that has been buck­ing the elec­tric trend is Nor­way.

Since the 14th cen­tury, Ak­er­shus Fortress has pro­tected Oslo from raids by blood­thirsty Swedes. Now a Cold War bomb shel­ter in its base­ment is be­ing re­pur­posed to help save the Nor­we­gian cap­i­tal from more in­sid­i­ous foes: pol­lu­tion and global warm­ing.

From May, elec­tric car own­ers have been able to drive down a nar­row ramp be­tween rough- hewn rock walls which was drip­ping with con­den­sa­tion and plug in at one of 86 charg­ing sta­tions — for free.

The fa­cil­ity will get plenty of use as Nor­we­gians switch to elec­tric ve­hi­cles faster than any­one else on the planet. More than a third of all new cars are ei­ther fully elec­tric or plug-in hy­brids.

With about 100,000 electrics on the road, Nor­way (pop­u­la­tion 5 mil­lion) trails only the US, China, and Ja­pan in ab­so­lute num­bers.

By 2025, the gov­ern­ment has sug­gested, there may be no ga­so­line- or dieselpow­ered cars sold in the coun­try.

“It’s safe to say that Nor­way is the first mass mar­ket for EVs,” says Sture Portvik, the city of­fi­cial over­see­ing the Ak­er­shus garage.

Nor­way’s elec­tric ve­hi­cle boom has been built on gen­er­ous gov­ern­ment in­cen-

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.